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on our broadcast tonight, the crisis following the killing of an american ambassador in libya, murdered along with three other americans as the consulate is attacked. the president says justice will be done, but what sparked this furious attack? the response is now part of the race for president. mitt romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack politically. also tonight, who we are, the mbers that will get your attention about the number of americans struggling to pay for food and gas and medical care. and making an addition to the classroom, that is turning out to be a powerful idea. and as apple unveils the newest iphone, guess what just became obsolete?
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>> in new york, this is nbc nightly news with brian williams. good evening, he was a u.s. foreign service officer, a diplomat representing his country, all he ever wanted to be. he was not the type who asked for cushy assignments, quite the contrary. be, chris steven was the u.s. ambassador to libya, killed last night in the attack in the city of benghazi. a total of four americans were killed, america vowed there will be justice, turns out 911 was a bad day for overseas, protesters in cairo scaled the wall and embassy. destroyed the american flag in cairo and egypt, and then in benghazi, where we begin tonight, we have our chief foreign correspondent, richard,
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engel. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian, we hoped to broadcast in front of the u.s. embassy here in cairo, but had to leave as egyptian security forces clashed with the demonstrators there, pushing them back, using tear gas to try to stop assaults like the ones yesterday, which we are learning much more about. two attacks on u.s. buildings, one here in cairo, spontaneous, passion, harmless, the other in benghazi, focused and deadly. at 4:00, protesters in cairo answer a preacher's call on tv to go to the u.s. embassy to denounce a u.s. video made in the u.s. that insulted islam. they say they want to stop the
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movie about to premier, by 6:00, the protesters scaled the embassy, ripping down the u.s. flag. nobody is hurt, but egyptian police are noticeably slow to arrive. around 10:00 in libya, the militants attack the u.s. consulate in benghazi. using the grenades, mortars, and military tactics they set the consulate on fire. witnesses told them it had been peaceful until the militants showed up. >> the protest was supposed to be a quiet, simple peaceful one, but people started shooting at some point, some people got injured from the lybian side. >> reporter: the u.s. and libyan personnel, battling. building to building.
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four americans, including the ambassador, were killed. was it a 9/11 anniversary attack? and did the militants know that he was in benghazi? was he the target? they say it was too sophisticated to be spontaneous. today, the libyan government which has close relationships with the united states. apologized. and there was a pro-american demonstration in benghazi, but elsewhere in the region there were anti-american protests. in tunisia, in gaza, the protests continued in front of the u.s. embassy. friday. this is the dark side, brian, of the arab spring movement which empowered many looking for democracy, but also unleashed a great many radicals without the strongmen keeping them in check.
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there could be more incidents like this in the days, months and years to come. >> all right, richard engel starting off our coverage, now the response to the crisis, taking place on several fronts. we'll get to the political part of it. first, with us our chief foreign correspondent, andrea mitchell, with more on the response and much more on the dedicated american diplomat, who again has been killed on the job. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, the president consoled the grieving, saying that no act would shake the resolve on a great nation. barack obama vowed to bring the killers to justice. >> the libyans helped others to safety and carried steven's body to the hospital, where we learned he had died. >> reporter: the president then paid a condolence call on the
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shaken officers, suffering the first killing of an ambassador in the line of duty in 33 years. >> today, many americans are asking, indeed i asked myself how could this happen? how could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped to save from destruction? >> reporter: the sad irony, 52-year-old ambassador stevens served twice previously in libya, and led america's out reach during the war. >> my name is chris stevens and i'm the new u.s. ambassador to libya. >> it is a sad day in my life. i know chris personally. he is my tennis partner, he comes to my house, we have breakfast together. >> reporter: friends describe him as a model diplomat, a former peace corp activist.
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>> he wanted to learn the language, and be the first diplomat on the ground. >> reporter: two others were killed, even as the evacuation happened, the fbi was launching an investigation. the veteran diplomats going back to the reagan years urged the critics to call a time out. >> i think it is very important we don't play politics with this. we have american lives at stake. our embassy, they're at out posts that are very dangerous. >> reporter: and more on how effective chris stevens was as an ambassador, an out pouring from others expressing sadness over his death. andrea mitchell in our d.c. bureau tonight, what a tragedy for our state department and others. as far as a u.s. military
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response tonight. our correspondent reports one u.s. navy destroyer has arrived off the coast of libya tonight. a second is expected tomorrow. 60 u.s. marines are being moved into libya to beef up security. the marines traditionally defend all larger u.s. embassies from around the world. with us, michael lighter, a former director of of the u.s. national countterrorism center. michael there is no accounting for what people take offense to, the rumor or reality of a film, if that is in deep what happened. somebody i spoke to said there was a different, more concerted organized effort. do you concur with that earlier analysis? >> i do, brian, although it is very hard to tell in just the
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hours and days after an attack like this. i think it is most likely the only correlation was that they occurred at the same time. the protests in egypt looked so different from the rather organized attack that was clearly intended to harm and kill u.s. diplomats, my guess is that the case will be different than the other. michael anything larger going on? do you concur with richard engel regarding the weeks and months and years ahead? >> reporter: we did amazing work in libya to help depose moammar gadhafi. but at the same time, there are real elements in tunisia, libya, that are really quite against the american interests. if you look at the polling, very high percentages, it will be hard for the governments that are trying to formulate themselves and try to regain control of the nations and control the negative elements of
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the society. >> michael lighter, thank you very much for joining us from washington. and now, to how all of it became political today in the race for president. mitt romney somehow wanted today to be about america apologizing for its values, even after it became clear that today was about the death of an american ambassador and others, in one of two attacks on american interests on 9/11, no less. and instead of backing away, romney doubled down on his position. our chief political correspondent chuck todd has been following this all day. >> reporter: good evening, well, last night, mitt romney turned the attack and brought it into the presidential campaign, despite being criticized even by fellow republicans, for the timing. he stood by that position and had discussion from the president.
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mitt romney, in jackson, a mere 15 minutes before the statement. >> it was wrong to stand by a statement with sympathy, to those who had breached our embassy. >> reporter: the statement romney referred to was issued by the u.s. embassy in cairo around 6:00 on tuesday morning, saying in part, the united states condemns the hurting of the religious muslims, the statement issued on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack was intended to distance the u.s. from the video that it angered protesters in libya and egypt and led to romney's first criticism, which then triggered this reaction from the obama administration. we are shocked that at a time of the death of one of our officers in libya, governor romney would choose to launch an attack. this morning, romney faced questions about the timing of the criticism. >> do you think coming so soon really after the events unfolded
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overnight was appropriate to be weighing in. as the crisis was unfolding in realtime? >> the white house issued a statement saying they tried to distance themselves, saying they didn't reflect their views. i had the exact same reaction. the views were inappropriate. the -- that was a mistake, i believe that when a mistake is made of that significance, you speak out. >> reporter: some republicans criticized mr. romney's timing. >> i don't feel that mr. romney is doing himself any favors, sometimes when really bad things happen, cool words or no words are the way to go. >> reporter: but laura graham was supportive. >> mitt romney's team was smart in coming out strong saying we should never apologize when these things go down. >> reporter: late today, the president responded in an
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interview with cbs. >> there is a broader lesson here, and governor romney has a way of shooting first, naming later. and as president, one of the things i have learned is you can't do that. it is important to make sure that the statements you make are backed up by the facts, and that you have thought through the elements before you make them. >> reporter: it is worth noting that romney changed his schedule today and pulled back on the event he was holding in florida. the president is landing in nevada very soon, holding a campaign rally. >> chuck todd at the white house for us tonight. and of course before all of this blew up, the big story last night was the tensions that were higher than ever between the u.s. and israel over how to respond to iran's nuclear plans. prime minister netanyahu claimed the president had refused a meeting with him. the white house said it was not true.
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today, we're told the president and prime minister spoke by phone last night and smoothed things over. still ahead for us as the broadcast continues, in plain sight, but you may not know it. the impact of the stubborn recession in this country, especially on american children. and later, fathers welcome, and they're making a difference.
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the census bureau, the folks who count us all, are out today. and the numbers in america on poverty are stunning and sad, especially what they say now about the once-great american middle class, more on the story. >> reporter: at 47 with a successful career at a pharmaceutical company, judy brown never expected to have help from a food pantry, until she lost her job. >> it is kind of hard to ask for help. >> reporter: she had to move in with family, and found herself raising a two-year-old grandson.
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>> it is very hard not knowing where your next meal is coming from or if you have a roof over your head. >> reporter: brown is one of 46 million americans living in poverty, defined as a family of four making about 26,000 a year. that is 15% of americans below the poverty line, and more than one in five children. >> in many cases away we see are more and more people really being in survival mode. >> reporter: it is the extension of a smaller middle class, 40% of the population earned just 40% of the total income. another problem is the number of food stamps is going up, and they're serving 23% more children than they did last year. >> reporter: and many of their families are considered middle class but live just above the poverty line. >> they're just trying to make it work every month. so whether they go to a soup kitchen or pantry, they're using food stamps.
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>> reporter: judy brown would be helpless without the help from the center in georgia. she now has an apartment while they give her job training. >> with the grace of god, hopefully it turns around sooner rather than later. >> reporter: determined to put the pieces of her life back together. >> how much do you love me? this much? for herself and her grandson. chris jansing. day three of the chicago teacher strike as thousands marched again in their red shirts, mayor rahm emanuel says he wants school to resume while the negotiations continue, but neither side had any comment on how long it would take to reach the agreement. up next, the new iphone 5 is out, including a feature folks wish they had not changed.
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. the iphone 5 came out today,
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here are the headlines from the big event today, others say its thinner, more power and processing speed and a better camera. here is the bad news, it has a different charging port on it, so all the chargers are obsolete, unless you buy the $29 adapter, 39 bucks if you want a cord attached. but such is the power that apple has over the veteran consumers if you want to buy their products. and john f kennedy in the news today, directly and indirect, first off, this year's kennedy center nominees were announced. they included buddy guy, david letterman. and it was 50 years ago today when john f kennedy changed our world forever. he went to rice university in houston, and with lbj behind him he gave his famous moon speech, making the case for a man to land on the moon and return to earth safe.
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before the '60s, they barely made it that summer of '69, back when anything seemed possible. two notes here, first neil arm armstrong, the first man on the moon died just weeks ago, of course. second, we couldn't send them up today if we had to. american astronauts now ride along with the russians to get to space. perhaps you have heard about the complaints in southern california. hundreds of callers complaining about a terrible odor, sulphuric, rotten eggs, methane, decaying matter, just an awful smell. investigators say it is narrowed down to the salt in the sea. the lake is a long way from the basin, but they blame the winds for blowing the smell across a huge area. up next here tonight, making a difference by bringing critically important people into the classroom.
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finally tonight, some folks have found the teacher's strike in chicago has been a reminder of how many of our teachers are women now, out numbering the male teachers in that city, 5-1, now some cities are working to
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get more male role models in some schools. nbc's john yang has more on the volunteers making a difference. >> reporter: adam nally doesn't just drive his daughter to this elementary school, sometimes he goes in with her and spends the whole day. >> are you guys ready for the weekend? we'll be out there cheering. >> reporter: greeting students as they arrive. >> what are you thinking right now? working with them in class, even having lunch with them. >> it is fun to show them i'm here to care about them. >> reporter: now he is with a program called watch dogs, dads with great centers. it is now across 41 states in the district of columbia. the idea? get more male role models in classes on regular school days, not just special events. >> the kids get so excited. it is like we have a special guest, a rock star in our building.
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>> sit down here with them. >> reporter: teachers report fewer discipline problems and more academic work when there are dads there. >> they put their shoulders back, push out their chests and read. >> reporter: nally notices it too. >> it gives them a chance to say hey, i know what i'm doing. >> reporter: now, he is a familiar face at school. >> good job. >> reporter: and gets to know the kids better than many watch dogs who volunteer just one day a year. he comes once a month, saying he can't think of a better way to use vacation days from his engineering job. >> i get more than they could ever imagine. when they become parents, they will know what i'm feeling. >> reporter: at the end of the day, he gives the kids a warm send-off. and they know he will be back again soon. >> good-bye, have a good day. >> reporter: john yang, louisville, kentucky. >> and that is it for us, thank
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you for joining us, i'm brian williams, we hope to see you back here tomorrow night. good night nbc bay area news starts now. good evening. and thanks for joining us. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. the u.s. taking action after that attack on the u.s. embassy in libya that killed bay area native christopher stevens. the u.s. is moving two warships to the libyan coast as well as 50 marines. u.s. leaders are investigating to see if the attack was a coordinated al qaeda attack on the anniversary of september 11. and just into the newsroom, somber images from tripoli,

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